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Sudirman Cup 2019 – Team Japan Wins Silver!

27 May 2019

Nanning, China ­– Japan faced a worthy opponent in China in the finals at the Sudirman Cup 2019, and finished with a silver medal, only the second time in the tournament’s history they’ve achieved such honors. Though expectations were high for Japan going into the tournament as the top seed, when the May rankings were released, it was China who moved into the number one spot, and that reversal proved true in today’s finals.

Leading off in men’s doubles, Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe faced the World No. 3 pairing of Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen. Throughout the first game, Endo and Watanabe fought doggedly to stay within a close distance of the Chinese. However, they were rarely able to move off playing defense and press an attack. Things deteriorated even more in the second game, and they eventually fell 21-18, 21-10.

Akane Yamaguchi nearly once again proved to be the turning point for Team Japan in a marathon test against Chen Yufei. Chen pulled out every trick she had to keep Yamaguchi scurrying all over the court in an 80 minute-long match that saw at least six lead changes and just as many momentum shifts, but it was Chen who eventually prevailed, 17-21, 21-16, 21-17.

In men’s singles, Kento Momota seemed about to finally be able to take a point back for Japan in a showdown of the world’s top two with Shi Yuqi. Momota coolly stepped on court and moved out to a one game lead. But while Shi accepted the challenge and stepped up the intensity, the pressure mounted for Momota. In a rare occurrence, the World Champ seemed unsure and harried by his opponent; the deciding tie ended in Shi’s favor, 15-21, 21-5, 21-11.

While the outcome was certainly not what Japan had hoped for, a silver medal amongst this year’s stiff competition is a shining accomplishment, and the future is bright for Japan’s young squad. Yonex is proud to support Team Japan and congratulates them on their outstanding achievement this year.

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